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Race, Gender and Technology – Session 11 "Computing includes not only the machines as artefacts, but also the expertise and knowledge, culture and values.

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Presentation on theme: "Race, Gender and Technology – Session 11 "Computing includes not only the machines as artefacts, but also the expertise and knowledge, culture and values."— Presentation transcript:

1 Race, Gender and Technology – Session 11 "Computing includes not only the machines as artefacts, but also the expertise and knowledge, culture and values of the computing profession, and the gender divisions and gender relations involved in production of hardware and software" (Juliet Webster, 1996: 9)

2 Before we go: Readings In the context of this theme, take a look at the article by Eileen Trauth (2002) Odd Girl out: an individual differences perspective on women in the IT profession. Published on Information Technology & People 15 (2), p. 98-118.It is available electronically and full text from Rutgers Indexes and Databases. Exam item.



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6 Examine the work of theorists such as Haraway, Nardi and O'Day to explore how ICTs play into the racial and gender equation Understand the concept of the “Digital Divide” Begin to explore the relationship between technology and race and gender issues Session Focus

7 Review of Learning Technological determinism vs social construction of technology Irrational users vs rational machines Human expendability Digital divide: gender, culture and technology issues

8 Key Theorists: Donna Haraway http://www.popcultur away.html Professor of the History of Consciousness University of California, Santa Cruz

9 Uses metaphor of the cyborg to discuss the relationships of science, technology, and feminism. Argues that hi-tech culture challenges and breaks down the old dualisms of Western thinking -- things like the mind/body split, self/other, male/female, reality/appearance, truth/illusion, and so on. Instead, we have become cyborgs, mixtures of person and machine, where the biological side and the mechanical/electrical side become so inextricably entwined that they can't be split (sort of like the Borg in Star Trek). Haraway, D. (1985) A manifesto for Cyborgs: science, technology, and socialist feminism in the 1980s. Socialist Review, 1985, 80, 65-107.

10 The Cyborg Manifesto: Donna Haraway “The ‘New Industrial Revolution’ is producing a new world-wide working class, as well as new sexualities, new ethnicities, … emergence of new collectives, and the weakening of familiar groupings. These developments are neither gender nor race- neutral”

11 Intimate dependence on communication & information technologies: Political processes Modern states Multinational corporations Military power Welfare state apparatuses Satellite systems Fabrications of our imaginations Labor control systems Medical constructions of our bodies Commercial pornography International division of Labor Religious evangelism

12 The Cyborg Manifesto: Donna Haraway "Late 20 th Century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, self- developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines. Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert"

13 The Cyborg Manifesto: Donna Haraway Central to new working class is the CYBORG Cybernetic organism Hybrid of machine and organism Structuring our societal transformation Committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, perversity Oppositional, utopian, completely without innocence IIlegitimate offspring of militarism, patriachial capitalism and state socialism

14 The Cyborg Manifesto: Donna Haraway Who Cyborgs will be is a radical question? The answers are a matter of survival.

15 The Cyborg Manifesto: Donna Haraway The ubiquity and invisibility of cyborgs is precisely why these machines are so deadly The need for unity of people trying to resist world wide intensification of domination of cyborgs has never been more acute.

16 A Cyborg World: Donna Haraway A Cyborg world is about the final imposition of a grid of control on the planet A Cyborg world might be about lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints

17 The Informatics of Domination: the societal transition Representation Physiology Small Group Organism Eugenics  Hygiene Reproduction Sex Genetic Engineering Simulation Communications Engineering Subsystem Biotic Component Population Control Stress management Replication Genetic Engineering Robotics

18 A Cyborg World: Donna Haraway Crisis in identity “I do not know of any other time in history where there was greater need for political unity to confront effectively the technological dominations of “race”, “gender”, “sexuality” and “class”

19 A Cyborg World: Donna Haraway “Communications technologies and biotechnologies are the crucial tools recrafting our bodies. These tools embody and enforce new social relations for women world-wide” “The production and reproduction of daily life and the symbolic organization of the production and reproduction of culture and imagination seem equally implicated”

20 A Cyborg World: Donna Haraway “Science and technology provide fresh sources of power, that we need fresh sources of analysis and political action. Some of the rearrangements of race, sex, and class rooted in high-tech-facilitated social relations can make socialist- feminism more relevant to effective progressive politics”

21 The effect of new technologies New family structures: patriarchal nuclear family, mediated welfare state family, family of the homework economy Robotics put men out of work in developed countries Intensification of vulnerability of work Altered gender divisions of labor and differential gender migration patterns Eradication of “public life” – eg video games / miniaturization  modern forms of “private life” Militarization of our imaginations Electronic and nuclear warfare

22 The effect of new technologies Affect social relations of both sexuality and reproduction: View of body as biotic component or cybernetic communication system Visualization and Intervention technologies: transformation of the reproductive system and predatory nature of photographic consciousness: restructuring of biological / sexual possibilities

23 The effect of new technologies The reformulation of expectations, culture, work, and reproduction for the large scientific and technical workforce Formation of a strongly bimodal social structure: masses of women and men of all ethnic groups, especially people of color, confined to homework economy; illiteracy of several varieties, general redundancies and impotence, controlled by high- tech repressive apparatuses ranging from entertainment to surveillance to disappearance

24 Women and the “New Industrial Revolution” Home: re-emergence of home sweat-shops, flight of men, intense domestic violence; home-based businesses and telecommuting Market: target for less clearly needed commodities; intensified sexualization of consumption State: continued erosion of welfare state, reduced occupational mobility for women Schools: public education linked to high-tech capital needs: differentiated by race, class, gender; continued relative scientific illiteracy among white women and people of color; development of numerous elites

25 Women and the “New Industrial Revolution” Clinic-Hospital: intensified machine-body relations; loss of control of women’s relation to reproduction; ideological struggle over role of women Church: electronic fundamentalist “super- saver” preachers soleminizing the union of electronic capital and automated fetish gods; struggle over women’s meanings and authority in religion; spirituality intertwined with sex and health

26 Women and the “New Industrial Revolution” Massive intensification of insecurity Cultural Impoverishment Urgency of socialist-feminist politics addressed to science and technology DIGITAL DIVIDE

27 Your reaction to these ideas?

28 The Digital Divide Culture, race, ethnicity Gender Economics Education Infrastructure Access for disabled

29 The Digital Divide: What is it? “Gaps between the information haves and have- nots” “Excluding the world’s poor from the information revolution” “The Digital Divide is about more than connecting to the Internet, it is about connecting to opportunity in the new digital economy. Silicon Valley's Digital Divide is the gap between different communities in workforce, education, the economy and technology”.

30 The Digital Divide “A society which is fractured, not along racial or economic lines and not by war, famine or religion, but by information or, more specifically, people’s ability to gain access to it” (Weekend Australian, February 27-28, 1999 p. 6)

31 The Digital Divide Information Rich: those élite members of the population capable of understanding and harnessing the fast-moving opportunities of information technology Information Poor: those people excluded from information technology opportunities because of a range of social, cultural, political, economic or educational factors

32 The Digital Divide “People lack many things: jobs, shelter, food, health care and drinkable water. Today, being cut off from basic telecommunications services is hardship almost as acute as other deprivations, and may indeed reduce the chances of finding remedies to them” UN Secretary General Kofi Anan

33 The Digital Divide: some divided viewpoints “Brave new world replete with an electronic agora and online democracy” (Al Gore) “From Manhattan to Madrid, the Internet has fundamentally changed work, recreation – even love. But in Malawi and Mozambique, life remains very much the same” (Jane Black – BBC)

34 The Digital Divide More than 80 % of people in the world have never heard a telephone dial tone 2% of the people in the world are connected to the Internet 1 in 100 people have access to a computer Industrialized countries, with 15% of world’s population, are home to 88% of Internet users Less than 1% of people in South Asia are online, even though it is home to 20% of world’s population

35 The Digital Divide Africa has 739 million people and only 14 million phone lines (Fewer phone lines than Manhattan) I million Internet users in Africa compared to 10.5 million in the UK (80% of these in South Africa) Ratios: Internet access: USA / Europe = 1:6; Africa = 1:5,000 Even if telecommunications systems were in place, most of the world’s poor would still be excluded from the Internet revolution because of illiteracy and lack of basic computing skills, as well as English language

36 The Republic of Benin (Africa)

37 Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Nigeria and Togo Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Pennsylvania Climate: tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north Land use: arable land: 13% permanent crops: 4% permanent pastures: 4% forests and woodland: 31% desert: 48% Irrigated land: 100 sq km Environment: recent droughts; inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification Population: 6,395,919 excess mortality due to AIDS; Life expectancy at birth: male: 49.24 years female: 51.16 years (2000 est.) Languages: French (official), 6 tribal languages

38 Economy: underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production. Imports - commodities: tobacco, foodstuffs, petroleum products, capital goods Telephones: main lines in use: 28,000 (1 in 300) Televisions: 60,000 Population below poverty line: 33% Budget: revenues: $299 million expenditures: $445 million Illicit drugs: transshipment point for narcotics associated with Nigerian trafficking organizations Literacy: can read and write total population: 37% male: 48.7% female: 25.8% Information access: for those 40% who are literate, 80% websites are in English, a language understood by 10%


40 Bill Gates “The Internet, along with other computer technologies, is literally enabling some developing countries to "leapfrog" the industrial revolution and jump straight to the Internet Age”.

41 Discussion How can the WWW and networked information technology make a difference to the future and well being of Benin? What infrastructure would be required? What should be the priorities?

42 Useful resources Center for Women & Information Technology: Women's Studies/Women's Issues: ks.html and also note this page: ks_sci.html (one of the best collections of sites for women and technology) Gender, Science and Technology Gateway:

43 Gender-Related Electronic Forums at: l Against the Odds: Barriers for Women in Computing at: Best Online Resources For Women and Minorities in Science and Technology: Women and computers

44 Spender, D. (1995). Nattering on the Net: Women, Power and Cyberspace. Melbourne: Spinfex Press. Turner, E. (1997). "What is our worth?" In: A.F. Grundy, et al (eds.), in Women Work and Computerisation: Proceedings of the 6 th International IFIP Conference, Bonn, Germany, May 24-27, 1997). Germany: Springer. Webster, J. (1996). Shaping Women’s Work: Gender, Employment and Information Technology. London: Longman. Women and Technology Workforce: d.html

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